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author’s note:

Dedicated to all the worriers out there.

I know your pain.


Feeling defeated
at the end of another day
I fell back

and in the emptiness following a sigh
again heard that gentle whisper
of blended gender—
heard again those words inside my ear:
“Do not worry—
  I am with you always”

and as before, heard nothing more—
only silence when I asked
“who’s there?”

yet I feel comforted by this occasional visitor:
I always imagine an angel behind my left shoulder
shielding me with the canopy
of its invisible wings

but maybe I’m actually hearing
a better stronger me
echoing from deep within—

shouldn’t I rejoice at the thought
I hold such power of spirit?

Well, yes…nonetheless
I still want to believe:
I’m not alone—I am known.

So tonight
if the voice returns
whispering “Do not worry”
I’ll again imagine a constant angel

but will also tell myself:
apparently, you have the strength you need
to triumph despite the defeat
of these heavy gray days.


© 2019, Michael R. Patton
searching for my best beliefs: poetry ebook


author’s note:

Happy Halloween!


Voices from unseen revelers echo
down this shadowy street—

the words unclear—distorted:

sounds from alien beings.

Now I don’t feel so safe
on this porch

but that’s alright—
I don’t want to feel safe tonight.

The echoes drum my wall.

The echoes thrill my belly.

Those aliens have invaded me!

But that’s alright—
I don’t want to feel safe tonight.

The echoes linger long within

then suddenly…nothing
—not a sound inside or out.

Now I see the perfect world again—
I’m as deep and as dark and as bright
as that witching-hour sky.

If everyone is alien
then so am I

and that’s alright:
I want to be an alien tonight.

© 2017, Michael R. Patton
myth steps blog

birds nest ear 366w - January 4, 2014s

author’s note:

In olden times, people believed the souls of humans took up habitation in birds, upon death.

I’d prefer the soul of bird to take up habitation in me, while I’m still alive.


Such generosity from that bird:

offering me its golden-throated warbling
for the purpose of healing my ears
—my heart

then building a nest
to demonstrate
how beautiful vessels
though delicately suspended
can defy the storm.

I respond to its fretful notes:

the bird sings of a life precarious.

I respond to its strong tones—

the bird tells us:
I will feel the pain of this fear
and create a song of love.

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
listening to silence: the book

head pole - September 28, 2014s

author’s note:

To be clear: those aren’t pineapples in the picture above.


I put a pole in the center of my home

not to hold the ceiling in place
but to hold me in place:

any time I felt uncertain
I would steady myself against the pole.

I always felt secure while clasping
that smooth solid natural wood.

When the storm collapsed the roof
I simply propped the pole back up
and again felt at one—

even when I was forced
out of my house
I could think of the pole
and again feel stable.

Now, as a nomad
I sit down at night by the campfire
and stick a twig in the ground
and tell myself: that is the pole.

Even if they catch me
even if they beat me
even if they stand me
before a firing squad
I will remember the pole
and not feel lost.

Perhaps you’ll say
I merely seek something tangible
to reconnect me
to my inner strength

I guess that’s so…and yet
there’s more to my response:

whenever I envision that pillar
I also sense a force much greater
than what is contained within
the confines of my small cell.

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
listening to silence: poems of meditation


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